A study by The Transport Corporation of India and IIM Calcutta records that traffic jams in India set the economy back by Rs. 60,000 crore annually. Fuel wastage, congestion, and the snail’s pace at which freight vehicles move are the most common causes of the exponential loss.
Understanding some key facts that affect our road transport system could help us analyze how we can resolve the congested state of affairs. The exhibit below highlights some crucial insights that need to be addressed.
Pessimists might say that road traffic problems can’t be avoided all together. We opportunists on the other hand believe that they can certainly be reduced. Let’s elaborate five novel ideas that could be executed and implemented to achieve better safety and convenience for all on the road, the pessimists included.
- Impose stricter laws about lanes
Even though most countries have separate lanes allotted for specific kinds of vehicles, we hardly seem to follow them. Bus tracks and bicycle tracks are often driven on by cars, every free inch of space is occupied a motorcyclist. Cars drive bumper to bumper, and a nick or scratch is often ignored or resolved with an exchange of angry glares or expletives at the most. Public transport such as buses do not comply, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, cannot comply with the lane restrictions imposed on them. This causes menace, as buses and other public transport stop at unwarranted places. Amidst all the honking and the jeering passengers alight and board. Traffic congestion aside, all this also leads to noise pollution. Needless to say that it is dangerous to the passengers and citizens who use these means of locomotion.
A Livemint report says that road lanes in India are only recording a 4.01% growth, adding fuel to the fire. The best way to avoid all this is to implement stricter laws about driving in the designated lanes. By simply using the already set up street cameras and recorders, vehicles who do not abide by the lane laws can be penalized.
- Allot specific schedules
Roads and freeways experience rush hour traffic at certain peak hours of the day. Restricting the number of vehicles on the road is possible through the implementing Odd-even rule, which Delhi’s government had implemented in 2016, across the country. If not, implementing certain schedules could help curb traffic. Heavy duty vehicles such as trucks for load could be allowed to be driven only during certain hours of late night and early morning. The government could collaborate with online transport booking websites to implement this policy.
- Pooling of heavy load vehicles
Most truck hiring companies have a range of vehicles that have ranging capacities. By optimizing their resources, they can cause traffic conditions to be favorable. When a customer does a truck booking, details such as the weight of their cargo are noted along with other details. By allotting a truck that is ideal for that cargo size could allow traffic to be controlled and traffic congestion to be less. Also, if the cargo size is small, the truck being used to transport it can be used to transport cargo for other customers as well. So, instead of five trucks transporting cargo for five different customers, there can be one truck booking made for all of them. This will optimize the resources being used; make them cost effective, while also managing traffic. Organizations like TripIn are already doing this.
- Heat maps and analytics
By using a Global Positioning System, which most online transport booking websites already use to help customers track their cargo, and an efficient analytics system, commercial vehicles can plan their routes better and avoid traffic congestion. Instead of using the shortest route and being a part of heavy traffic, trucks for load can consider travelling on a longer route that has less traffic. This way, they can reach their destination well in time and also avoid adding to already existent traffic. Public vehicles too can use analytics and heat maps to take longer routes. This way they can avoid traffic as well as expand their reach.
- Improved toll tax collection
Most highways and freeways and inter-city check points experience heavy traffic around their toll collection booths. Even though most toll booths have multiple collection points, it is still a slow and cumbersome process. Noise pollution and traffic jams that take a long time to clear are what ensue. According to a Times of India report, the Delhi-Mumbai route is one of the busiest and slowest highways in India. It has a total of 18 toll booths. By making toll collection a digital process, traffic can be lightened near these areas.
There are multiple ways to make toll collection easier and convenient, all the time reducing traffic. By using the Internet of Things, cars can be implemented with devices that are linked to an account through which the toll can be collected when they cross the toll plazas. A missed payment, or insufficient balance can be intimated and then penalized through mails and SMS alerts. Online transport booking companies could pay the toll taxes for their vehicles online by chalking out their routes and marking all the interim toll booths. Private vehicles too could be offered the convenience of paying online. Incentives such as cashback offers or discounts could further attract them to do so.
Private car owners, online transport booking firms, transportation unions, the government and the citizens of the country need to actively participate and work in unison and use technology to better the conditions of our roads.